Saturday, March 31, 2007

Preparation for the campaign

At 9 am, visit from a Bordeaux broker to talk about my wines. As Château Valandraud and Virginie de Valandraud are my only wines sold on the open market, without exclusivities or interdiction, and this since 1992, there is not much to say, or to do, except, maybe, to take Virginie de Valandraud out of this particuliar sales system which, in "average" vintages is only good for the 30 top brands. Other than that, Clos Badon, Prieuré Lescours, Bel Air Ouÿ, Bellevue de Tayac, Calvet-Thunevin are often sold with exclusivities in some countries. This protects importers and distributors from aggressive companies who are only looking to destabilize the work already done by selling the wine with little margin only to prove that they are the best. Brands depending on this sort of competition must be quite strong to resist.

Getting back to my broker, we discussed the Vignobles Fayat and this morning, he reserved 150 cases of La Dominique 2006 for a big Bordeaux wholesaler.
It is already the second order, for the same amount of cases made by another broker for another wholesaler. La Dominique 2006 has been well received by some of my colleagues who have taken the time to taste the product presented "en primeur" and who are able to take a stand without waiting for the opinion of Bob Parker or other big American, English or even French media.

9:45 am visit of a property in Saint Emilion where the wines presented were too cold and had the same problems as mine (tight, hard, dry). Beautiful property, with charming people in charge. I will taste these wines again at the right temperature.

From noon to 2 pm, lunch with 11 person at home: they were part of friends of our attorney who wanted to celebrate the retirement of one of their friends. I rarely saw such a group of food enthusiast. This made me realized how lucky we are to have jobs where this type of meal is common, when in other profession it would be considered as one of the best meal ever organized. It is true that this meal (as well as the wines) were simply perfect.

From 5 to 8 pm: General Assembly of the Syndicat de Pomerol where I represent the Vignobles Fayat and Le Domaine Fayat-Thunevin. This little appellation (800 hectares) and the small numbers of owners gives this organization a family and friendly feel , except for one owner who asked 90% of the questions, with a real French attitude, which consists of always repeating the same thing, often with a negative tone. Not my style, but as we say in French: "you need every sorts of people to make the world"... Thanks to everyone who fights for our interest, trade associations or others.

1 comment:

Patrick said...

As we tend to hear about Valandraud, Badon and Virginie I thought I would relay a story about Presidial. We had a large stock of the 2003, in a small Irish store, which wasn't shifting or in truth as staff we largely ignored it, generic Bordeaux doesn't normally excite us. However we decided, after some argument, to open a bottle and if we liked it we would put it on a tasting. We loved it. It had so much finesse and balance, perfume, subtle tannin and live fruit. We sold out within two hours and can't get any more. It is easy to remember the glamour and tension of en primeur, the points race and the chateaux yet all too easy to forget generic Bordeaux. People who bought it ranged in age but it was the behaviour of those who normally spend 40 euro plus for there weekend drinking that was most inetersting along with the die-hard “under 35 new world” only drinkers. The former couldn't believe the price, 13 euro. It really shocked them and even confused them. Some got aggressive that we didn’t have anymore. Their purchasing has been largely predicated on legacy, “my father always bought Chateau X” and brand. They also felt as some later commented that they weren’t now getting the same value from their purchase of Chateau X. The “under 35 new world” only purchaser largely commented “so this is what all the fuss is about”. It occured to us that if generic Bordeaux was always so good our average spend on Bordeaux would be way down but for a store like ours total spend on Bordeaux would increase, expontientially and cannabilise our sales for Australian and American wines, as it did on that evening.
Making luxury Bordeaux, given the terroir, the repository of knowledge, the financial backing and the brand is possible everyday, making fine generic Bordeaux like Presidial 2003 isn’t. Valandraud helped make fine wine making in Bordeaux accessible as a profession by stripping back all but the essentials. Presidial could do something as important, make good Bordeaux wine accessible everyday. All of this you may know already but considering the satisfaction you gave us and our customers that evening I thought it might be nice to confirm some old news, Bordeaux does make the finest wines in the world and just sometimes the most intelligence, enjoyable and best value also.